How To Reduce UI Complexity

By  Maham Qasim

February 04, 2022 11:58 pm EST

Reducing user interface (UI) complexity is critical for any software development project. By reducing UI complexity, you can improve the usability of your application and make it easier for users to interact. In this post, we will discuss tips for reducing UI complexity.

1) Start With A Wireframe Prototype 

Firstly, reducing the UI complexity of your application is to start with a wireframe prototype. A well-planned and comprehensive wireframe can be used as the blueprint for laying out your application’s pages and defining what controls will be displayed on them. The primary purpose is to establish your application’s overall layout and structure.

The standard elements that should be included in all wireframes include:

  • Page header and footer (which can include page navigation)
  • Main content area (which can also include a navigational menu or sidebar for filtering/sorting data or for displaying contextual help)
  • Location of input controls (such as text boxes, checkboxes, drop-down lists, and buttons)

2) Use Standard Controls Whenever Possible

When designing your application’s user interface, use standard controls whenever possible. Normal controls are those that are common to most Windows applications. By using standard rules, you can minimize the learning curve for your application because users will be familiar with their behaviour. Use standard dialogue boxes instead of creating custom ones. Custom dialogues are often confusing and time-consuming to develop, increasing an application’s complexity.

3) Provide Context-Sensitive Help

One of the best ways to reduce UI complexity is to provide context-sensitive help. By displaying service only when needed, you eliminate clutter and confusion for users. You should also ensure that your application’s text labels are self-explanatory so that the context-sensitive help doesn’t have to describe them. 

4) Use Splash Screens Sparingly

Using splash screens when your application is loading can help give the user some indication of how much time remains before your application is ready for use. However, only use splash screens sparingly to avoid confusing users or distracting them from their primary tasks.

5) Use Progress Indicators

When an application is performing a time-consuming task that takes some time to complete, it is helpful to use a progress indicator to show the user how close they are to completing the task. This will help keep users informed about what is happening and prevent them from becoming impatient or frustrated.

6) Use Animation and Visual Effects Sparingly

Animation and visual effects can be used to add visual interest to an application, but you should use them sparingly. Too much energy or too many visual effects can be overwhelming or distracting for users and decrease your application’s usability.

7) Use Standard Window Layouts

When designing your application’s windows, try to use standard window layouts. These layouts are familiar to users, and they help minimize the learning curve for your application. The most common window layouts are:

  • Two-pane layout – This layout displays more information in a single pane. It splits the information between two panes, with the essential information typically displayed in the upper-left pane.
  • Tabbed layout – This layout is used to group related controls. It is ideal for applications that have multiple windows, such as word processors and web browsers. 
  • Modeless layout – This layout is used to group unrelated controls, and it does not have any windows that obscure the desktop while they are displayed.

8) Use Custom Containers Sparingly 

It is helpful to use custom containers to group related controls, but you should use them sparingly. Custom containers can be confusing for users and increase the complexity of your application. It is usually better to use standard controls instead of custom containers.

9) Test Your Application with Different Screen Resolutions

It is crucial to test your application with different screen resolutions when designing your user interface. Other screen resolutions can cause your user interface to look different on different computers, leading to confusion and frustration for users. By testing your application with different screen resolutions, you can ensure that it will look good on all of the computers that it is used on.

When designing a user interface, it is vital to keep the complexity of the UI in mind, reducing the complexity of your UI and making it easier for users to understand and use.


Maham Qasim

Maham is a copywriter and content creator who's always been drawn to the idea that there's more than one way of getting things done. Her writing career can be thought of as just another side hustle for her; when she isn't crafting content or reading Oscar Wilde, Maham often strategizes about how best to reach out with an engaging voice in this ever changing marketplace!

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